Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad?


Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad

Good-quality parmesan cheese can be quite pricey, and you would not want to waste it! The good news is that parmesan can last quite long when stored properly. Therefore, if you have more of this delicious cheese that you can handle, you only need to follow a few simple storage rules and make it last.

Does parmesan go bad? Of course, nothing lasts forever. But our advice will help you keep it fresh for as long as humanly possible!

The next time you buy a big block of parmesan on sale, simply remember what you have read today, and you’ll be able to enjoy your cheese for longer. The same goes for the super-convenient shredded or grated variation – you’ll know exactly how to store it and how long it will be safe to use. So, let’s start!


How To Store Parmesan Cheese

Ok, so you have brought home a large chunk of parmesan, what next?

Logically, you should store it as soon as possible, just like any other hard cheese. The question is – where to keep it? 

Parmesan cheese needs to be stored in a cold and humid place. Do you have an idea where that could be? It is your fridge, of course!

It would be best to keep your parmesan in the vegetable crisper since it is fairly humid. If you do not plan to eat or use it right away, it is best to leave the cheese unopened. Being vacuum-sealed, the parmesan will stay fresh and unaltered for longer.

What happens once you open the package? You’ll have a couple of storage options to choose from. They all come down to the same thing- you need to wrap the entire package or your cheese only to prevent it from coming into contact with air or absorbing odors from your fridge. You can use one of the following options to do that:

  • Aluminum foil 
  • Cling wrap
  • Cheese paper
  • Wax paper
  • Parchment paper

We have not run any tests to see which of these storage methods is the best option. We believe there is not much difference, though. Therefore, it is more of a matter of your preference or what you have at home at the moment. 

Alternatively, you can put the parmesan in a freezer bag and seal it tightly. This method gives great results as well, especially if you give your best to the air from the bag before you seal it.

Why Is It Important To Keep The Parmesan Cheese Well-sealed?

  • In this way, the moisture will stay trapped inside, and the cheese will not dry too much or too quickly while stored. The perfect storage temperature is somewhere between 39 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Try to keep it that way for the best results. 
  • When properly stored in your fridge, parmesan cheese can stay fresh for a year or even longer. Stay tuned to find out more details on how long parmesan cheese can last.

What About Shredded And Grated Parmesan?

  • There are quite a few different versions of shredded and grated parmesan. Some are kept refrigerated in the store, and some are unrefrigerated –  you need to remember that! When you bring the cheese home, you should store an unopened package the same way it was stored in the supermarket.
  • Things change as soon as you open the package. When opened, parmesan has to be tightly sealed and kept in the fridge – no matter which variety it is! 
  • If you use a spoon or other utensil to scoop parmesan, make sure it is dry and clean in order to prevent microbial contamination and foodborne illnesses.

Can You Freeze Parmesan Cheese?

  • The answer is yes; you can freeze a block of parmesan as well as all the shredded and grated variants. There is not much you need to do to prepare for this – simply wrap the cheese well or put it in a freezer bag and then place it into your freezer.
  • Still, you might want to think twice before you freeze parmesan. After all, it already has such a long shelf life. Besides, the freezing process and low temperature are highly likely to decrease the quality of the parmesan cheese. It could lose its original texture and flavor when thawed too.

What Is The Best Way To Thaw The Parmesan Cheese?

  • It is always best to plan ahead – that’s a rule of thumb when it comes to thawing. One method seems to work wonders for almost all frozen food – leaving it in the fridge overnight! Parmesan cheese is no exception. Thus, you should take it out of the freezer a day before you plan to use it and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. 
  • If you want to grate or shred the cheese, you should best do that before you freeze it. Once thawed, the cheese will change its texture and will not be easy to grate or shed.
  • The shredded or grated parmesan can be frozen in the same way as the block of cheese. Pack it up into the air-tight freezer-safe bags to protect it from cold air and chuck it into your freezer.
  • The problem is that parmesan cheese will most likely get quite sticky when you freeze it. As a result, you won’t be able to grab a few spoonfuls for your favorite pasta. 
  • You can work around this problem by freezing parmesan in small portions. You’ll need a few more freezer bags, but you will be able to use as little cheese as you like.
  • When it comes to thawing, shredded or grated parmesan is no different than its chunky relative. It is still best to take it out a day before you plan to use it and then let it slowly thaw in the fridge. If you plan to use it for cooking, you can transfer it directly from the freezer onto the dish you’re preparing.
  • In fact, frozen or thawed parmesan cheese is best used for cooking purposes. It is ideal for preparing various sauces, soups, and casseroles. 

How Long Does Parmesan Cheese Last

As any hard cheese out there, parmesan can last quite long, especially if you follow up on all our storage advice. 

Unopened, a block of parmesan cheese can last up to a year, but it is usually somewhere around 7 to 9 months. Of course, it is best to check the label for a “use-by” or “best used by” date and try to use it before that. Still, if the parmesan cheese was stored properly, it will most likely stay good for at least a month beyond its official expiry date. 

Once opened, the parmesan cheese block stays fresh and good to eat for up to 6 weeks.

What About Grated Or Shredded Parmesan Cheese? How Long Can It Last?

  • The quality of shredded and grated parmesan cheese is sure to degrade faster than when the cheese is in one piece. Shredded or grated parmesan kept in the supermarket’s fridge will have a “use-by” date too. You should best try to use it by that date, but it should remain safe for about a week past it as well.
  • The above-mentioned rule applies only to an unopened package of shredded and grated parmesan cheese. Once you open it, you should try to use all the cheese in up to 5 days. It might remain safe for a couple of days more, but it will not be the best quality.
  • The grated parmesan that is kept unrefrigerated usually lasts about a year, or even more if you keep it unopened. It will always have a best-by date you can rely on to estimate whether you should consume it. The good news is that it will be safe to eat for at least a month past that date. It is all thanks to the fact that this type of parmesan cheese is completely dehydrated and thus not prone to bacteria growth.
  • Nevertheless, you should keep this cheese in your fridge as soon as you open it. In this way, you’ll be able to safely use it for at least a couple of months. Of course, you should always check the label just to be sure you are right.
PantryFridge
Unopened parmesan block  7 – 9 months Use-by date + 1 month
Opened parmesan block 4 – 6 weeks
Unopened shredded/grated parmesan sold refrigeratedUse-by date + 7 days
Opened shredded/grated parmesan sold refrigerated, 5-7 days
Unopened grated parmesan sold unrefrigeratedBest-by date + 1 month
Opened grated parmesan sold unrefrigerated4 – 6 months
*All the periods are estimates only.

Does Parmesan Cheese Go Bad? How Can You Tell When that Happens?

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever – not even hard cheeses! When cheese goes bad, you can usually feel it even without looking at it!  If the cheese smells off, you should discard it – parmesan included!

Besides the funny smell, you will be able to notice the mold spots as well. The good news is that you can remove these spots and still eat the rest of the cheese. Of course, it is a bit hard to do that when parmesan is shredded or grated. So, what then?

If your grated parmesan smells funny or has changed its color from white or beige into a yellow or brownish beige, it has probably gone bad.  Shredded parmesan will most likely change its texture too.  It will become a bit spongy or can feel wet when you touch it. The “funny” smell will be present again too. If you notice mold, throw away both grated and shredded parmesan immediately – you cannot save either of the two!

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